Pasteurized or Unpasteurized Juice – Benefits & Health Risks

Walk into any food store or outlet and you are most likely to encounter two types of juice; pasteurized and unpasteurized. Which one should you choose?

We have all become conscious of our health to a point where we only settle for juice products that benefit our health. The availability of both pasteurized and unpasteurized juice, however, presents us with the serious challenge of which one is the best.

It will serve all of us good if we take a few minutes to understand just what the two terms mean and the processes involved.

Pasteurization is a process that involves use of heat. In the case of pasteurized juice, the juice is first extracted from the fruit using mechanical means. The extracted juice then subjected to a predetermined degree of heat that is meant to kill harmful bacteria. The heating also serves to get rid of pathogenic microbes. The elimination of microbes prolongs the quality of the juice. It is only after the heating process that the juice is introduced to the market.

In contrast, unpasteurized juice is not subjected to any heat. Instead, the juice extracted from the fruit is subjected to cold-pressing. This is a process that involves spinning the extracted juice at high a high speed, a process that separates solids and liquid in the juice. The juice is then subjected to high pressure (not heat) during bottling. It is the high pressure that serves to prevent the growth of bacteria in the juice.

These are two different processes that manufacturers employ in the production of juice. The products, as they turn out, have their pros and cons.

Pasteurized Juice

The Pros

  1. Pasteurized juice is free of harmful bacteria and microbes. The heating process involved literally kills any bacteria in the juice during bottling.
  2. Pasteurized juice has longer shelf life compared to unpasteurized juice. Because the heating process kills all bacteria and microbes, the juice remains free of any contaminants. This prolongs its shelf life. Indeed, reading the expiry dates of pasteurized and unpasteurized juice shows that pasteurized juice have a shelf life of one year and above.
  3. Pasteurized juice contains high amount of sugar. This is beneficial for individuals whose daily activities require a high amount of energy.

The Cons

  1. Pasteurized juice contains fewer nutrients compared to unpasteurized juice. The heating process involved, without any doubt, ends up damaging some nutrients that are susceptible to heat. This is the reason why many juice consumers are switching to unpasteurized juice. Indeed, available market statistics show that sale of unpasteurized juice is fast overtaking that of pasteurized juice.
  2. The high amount of sugar in pasteurized juice may not be beneficial to a category of some people. For instance, individuals who watch their body weight do not find pasteurized juice to be beneficial. They simply add more weight.
  3. The taste of pasteurized juice is certainly not the same as that of unpasteurized juice. The heating process involved somehow alters the taste.
  4. The pasteurization process eliminates all the fiber from the juice.

Unpasteurized Juice

The Pros

  1. Unpasteurized juice, as it turns out, is tasty and has true flavor of the original fruit. This is because no heat is involved during bottling.
  2. Unpasteurized juice contains high amounts of nutrients compared to the amount available in pasteurized juice.
  3. Compared to pasteurized juice, unpasteurized juice is rich in antioxidants (vitamins) and amino acids. This is mainly due to the absence of heat during bottling.
  4. Although unpasteurized juice also contains high amount of sugar, the level of sugar cannot be compared to that in unpasteurized juice, which is higher. The amount of sugar in unpasteurized juice is healthy for individuals watching their weight.
  5. Drinking unpasteurized juice is beneficial compared to drinking pasteurized juice, at least when it comes to detoxifying the body.

The Cons

  1. Compared to pasteurized juice, unpasteurized juice has short shelf life. Furthermore, unpasteurized juice requires refrigeration.
  2. Unpasteurized juice turn out to be expensive compared to the cost of pasteurized juice. However, this is attributed to the fact that unpasteurized juice contains high amounts of nutrients.

The Bottom Line

The debate of which is the best between pasteurized and unpasteurized juice is still raging. While some find pasteurized juice beneficial, there are those that prefer unpasteurized juice. It all boils down to your reason for drinking juice. Pasteurized or unpasteurized juice will be right for you depending on whether you are overweight or not, your daily activity and/or your general lifestyle among other reasons.

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